She begins to rewrite the problem in colored chalk, a different color for each digit in the numbers. The teacher asks what she’s doing, and she replies that it might be easier if each digit was in its appropriate color. The whole class laughs.
For Mia every letter and every number comes in a different color, always the same color for each one no matter whether she sees it in a magazine, book or billboard. Sounds have colors, too. The meows, purrs and wheezes of her cat come in various shades of yellow-orange, like mangos in different seasons. That’s why she named him Mango, not because of his yellow eyes like everyone thinks.
Mia is thirteen when she realizes this oddity of hers has a name. Synesthesia. She’s a synesthete, and there are others like her. Well, not just like her. Every synesthete’s ability is different. Even those who see numbers and letters in color, which is the most common form of synesthesia, have their own unique
color coding systems.
There are other kinds of synesthetes, too. Some taste sounds or hear colors. Some attribute personalities to months of the year, like maybe January is angry and June is jovial. For some synesthetes, different musical
notes cause different colors to appear, which makes it really easy to sing on pitch, or sing a rainbow.
Synesthesia, a sort of cross wiring of the senses, is an actual difference in some people’s brains. Here’s a website about it that I got from a real synsethete’s review of A Mango-Shaped Space on Amazon.com -- http://www.visualinformation.info/understanding-the-phenomenon-of-synesthesia-infographic/
I found the whole synesthesia aspect of A Mango-Shaped Space fascinating, but there is more to this novel than a quirky neurological phenomenon. The bigger story is about how Mia faces the loss of her grandfather, struggles to keep her best friend Jenna while hiding what she thinks of as her weirdness, and struggles to take care of her ailing cat.
A Mango Shaped-Space is suggested for grades five and up, but I notice a lot of adults reviewing it on Amazon. A fascinating story is good for all.